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April 23, 2009

All, News, Wordpress

Annoucement: The Gorilla Project WPSynergy Project, Open Source WordPress Themes

Article written by Jeeremie
IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Because of the lack of support from the community and a lack of time (Chris got promoted and my workload increased by 150% since I created my own company), I am sad to announce the WPSynergy project will no longer be. Thanks everyone for contributing.

Chris and I will try to release the Themes we worked on. Some are nearly complete and it is a shame to have them sit in a folder without being used.

One of the most impressive things about the WordPress platform is its community. It literally counts thousands of people, each one contributing in their own way: free WordPress themes, plugins, tutorials and so on.

While it is really great to have so many people contributing to it, there’s some limitations when it comes to free WordPress themes created by individuals:

  • They have real difficulties to keep their themes up to date with the latest WordPress releases.
  • Their themes are not always cross browsers and cross platforms.
  • Their support is limited.
  • They usually don’t have all the skills needed to make a Premium Theme.
  • After a while, they might completely cease to maintain their themes because of lack of time or boredom.
  • As themes are updated by authors, upgrading will usually mean losing any custom styles you’ve added.
  • Many themes are offered as “one size fits all”, and can only be customized with knowledge of HTML/CSS.

Here comes the Gorilla Project WPSynergy Project, an opensource project created by Chris and I to overcome these common issues. Our goal is to build a large community of WordPress designers and developers to:

  • Collaborate together to build FREE Premium WordPress themes. Some companies (Woothemes, ithemes…) offer excellent premium WordPress themes but you have to pay for it!
    (“A premium theme refers to themes that have more quality in terms of design, or maybe layouts (magazine, grid, showcase, etc) that differs them from the majority free themes. It’s also fair to label them as themes that allows you to do more customization, or even displays content in a different formats” – Hongkiat)
  • Maintain and upgrade the themes to support the latest versions of WordPress.
  • Fix bugs.
  • Make the themes cross browser and cross OS platform.
  • Offer support to users (forum).
  • Write tutorials.
  • Create a theme framework to speed up themes development.
  • Write an extensive documentation (Wiki) for WordPress developers willing to create a theme for the Gorilla WPSynergy Project.

We need your help!

The gorilla project WPSynergy Project is going to be a huge and exciting project but we need your help to make it successful. Here’s how you can contribute:

  • Designers, we need your talents to design stunning themes, icons, mascots in Photoshop, Fireworks or any other image editor. We have a number of theme designs planned, but it would be nice to have an extra hand in the future.
  • Front end developers, we need you to code the theme in valid (X)HTML/CSS.
  • Back end developers, right now, Chris is looking for PHP developers to help develop the Gorilla Theme Options Framework” (GTOF) SYNTOF (WPSynergy Theme Options Framework) which we will be uses as the main framework for our themes. But we are also looking for contributers to other back end development projects – options pages, widgets, plugins…you name it!
  • Blog Owners, a section at wpgorilla.org wpsynergy.org will be created for you to report bugs, suggest improvements and new ideas…
  • Readers (yes, you too can help!), we need you to spread the word! Tweet it! Digg it! Stumble it! Talk about it on your blog. Help us grow this new community and make this project a reality and you will soon be able to download premium WordPress themes for free!

Ready to help?

If you are ready to help, you can contact us at joinus {a t} wpgorilla {d o t} o r g joinus {a t} wpsynergy {d o t} o r g or head to Launchpad our DEV site and pick a project. We are just starting out so you are not going to find much there at the moment but you can be the first one to propose a new project or you can help us develop the “Gorilla Theme Options Framework” (GTOF) SYNTOF till completion – anyone interested in finding out more can email chris {at} wpgorilla {dot} org chris {at} wpsynergy {dot} org for more information.

If you need help with Launchpad, read this »

Pignews theme – our first theme to be part of this project – is going to be on hold until we finish Gorilla Theme Options Framework (GTOF) SYNTOF but in the meantime you can review the concepts on Flickr and give us your feedback.

All the themes created by the Gorilla WPSynergy community will be hosted at www.wpgorilla.org www.wpsynergy.org. The site is under construction at the moment (see screenshot below). If you want to help me with the development of this site, contact me at jeremie {a-t} wpgorilla {d-o-t} org jeremie {a-t} wpsynergy {d-o-t} org. The fastest we build this site and the fastest we will be able to release free premium themes there.
wpgorilla-site-screenshot

Benefits of this project

If you run a WordPress blog, the benefits are quite obvious: you will be able to download free Premium WordPress themes and plugins developed and maintained by a large community of WordPress developers.

If you are a designer or developer (or both!), you will be able to work with various professionals, make contacts, learn new ways to build a WordPress theme and hopefully make WordPress a better CMS. We plan to create a page on WPGorilla.org WPSynergy.org to list our most active team members with a bio and a link to their site.

In the end, everyone will benefit from this project… so don’t forget to spread the word!

Links

Official Site: http://wpgorilla.org/

Projects:https://launchpad.net/~wpgorilla

Theme Concepts: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wpgorilla/

Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/wpgorilla

UPDATE:

Official Site: http://wpsynergy.org/

SVN:SVN

TRAC: Bugs

Discussions: Dev Site

The Author

Article written by Jeeremie:

Hi, My Name is Jeremie Tisseau. I am a French UI/UX Designer, Event Organizer and Web Entrepreneur based in Bangkok, Thailand, since January 2009. I design beautiful and functional web and mobile apps for early stage startups.

Want to become a guest author on this blog?

35 Comments

  1. Deps says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    Very Nice project ! Good Luck ;)

  2. Pavel Ciorici says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    This announcement sounds good :) Can’t wait for it’s release :)

    btw, what will be the benefit from this project for you, once all the themes will be free? Or there will be paid support?

    btw2, where comes name of this project? there is already another wp market place with a similar name: Gorilla Themes :)

    Good Luck!

  3. ant says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    the wpgorilla theme is amazing. If you give it for free i will use it, no doubt of it

  4. ant says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    I forgot it! I can help you with the spanish traslation

  5. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    @Pavel, Thanks. I am very passionate about what I do and I like to offer free themes to the WordPress community but, being a solo designer, I can’t release and maintain as many themes as I would like. Besides, to offer free support is time consuming. But if we are a large community, everyone can contribute in some way. My goal is really to make this project opensource and I would rather avoid to ask money from our users but if this project grow too fast or too big for us to maintain, we might have no choice but to offer paid support. Another solution would be to find some investors which would be better than to ask blog owners to pay for our themes. But, hey!… we are not there yet! ;) At the moment, what we need is help. You are very influent in the WordPress community so if you want to help us… you are welcome to do so!

    Yes, Chris stumbled upon “Gorilla Themes” after I bought the domain names for our projects. We hope this is not going to be a problem.

    @Ant, I thought about releasing the wpgorilla theme as a free theme. We will see.

    Bueno, si quieres ayudarnos con las traducciones en español, no voy a decir no! :D We will definitely need help with translating the themes.

  6. m.o.m. says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    Awesome good Luck an keep on the good Work!
    Thank you Guys.

    You become an extra Advertise Place on my new Projects.

  7. m.o.m. says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    P.S. i can help to translate in german and perhaps in italian (but my german is better).

  8. François says:

    23 Apr, 2009

    That’s a goog project’s idea you got :)
    Good Luck for the future
    I can’t help you because i’d need more time and skills in WordPress…
    A+

  9. Dustin says:

    24 Apr, 2009

    This has a lot of potential, i really hope this takes off.

  10. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    25 Apr, 2009

    Thanks guys for your support. I have posted some ideas on Google Groups. Feel free to join us and add your own ideas there.

  11. Carl says:

    27 Apr, 2009

    If I were you I would change the name.

    I don’t see how there is space for 2 theme related sites that both use Gorilla in the name.

    Gorilla Themes is an established premium themes developer. It *IS* going to cause brand confusion and i’m sure they won’t be happy about it given it is how they make their living.

    • Jeremie Tisseau says:

      28 Apr, 2009

      @Carl, We received last night a very polite email from Carlos Aguaron, owner of GorillaThemes (www.gorillathemes.com) and Chris and I agreed to change the name to avoid confusion. We will talk about it very soon in Google Groups and ask the team to choose a new name.

  12. Sajhu says:

    28 Apr, 2009

    Hi Jeremie Tisseau, hope you remember me, i also can help with the translation of the web page to spanish (and also themes if needed), and im a PHP developer so i can help with the framework, and im also good at xhtml/css, so i can get to be very helpfull, you have me on gmail.

    • Jeremie Tisseau says:

      28 Apr, 2009

      @Sajhu, si claro que me recuerdo de it. Thanks for joining us!

  13. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    1 May, 2009

    We came up with some new names to replace “Gorilla” name. You can read about it here or vote for your favorite one here.

  14. stevenoi says:

    15 May, 2009

    Excellent idea!

  15. 中国瓷器 says:

    21 May, 2009

    Very beautiful page design

  16. Albi says:

    22 May, 2009

    Very Nice idea ! Good Luck

  17. 贝库 says:

    25 May, 2009

    The theme of the design of your head are all good

  18. Csaba says:

    30 Jun, 2009

    Good idea guys unfortunately its not live yet.

    • Jeremie Tisseau says:

      30 Jun, 2009

      No, not yet. It is going to take some time anyway. Everyone has a full time job and we are doing this on our spare time.

  19. Adri says:

    21 Jul, 2009

    Wauw, I really like the idea.
    I discovered how to creat WordPress Themes, one month ago. I’ve made 2 complete WordPress themes now (that can be downloaded for free once my site is up) and I really like the idea of a large Free (Premiumlooking) Themesreleasing Community.

    So can I be able to help on something, I’m maybe in the world of WordPress although I understand completely on how to create themes and I can work with WordPress very good but also with forumsoftware (phpbb, smf, ipb, vbulletin). Finally I would say that I’m more a Coder (XHTML/CSS) than a (Photoshop) Designer.

    Adri

  20. John says:

    14 Aug, 2009

    Jeremie Tisseau, This is by far one of the coolest ideas I’ve seen in a while. I took a second to read over everything, including your developer blog. Now I’m a theme designer, so what if I want to contribute a theme? I know you are designing your own ‘theme backend’ and all that, but would you take one or would you rather start from scratch? Good luck!

    • Jeremie Tisseau says:

      14 Aug, 2009

      Hi John. Thanks for asking. That’s an interesting question. Anyone can submit his own theme. However, to ensure we always release quality themes for the public, we have two criterias when approving a theme: 1) theme stands out by its design or 2) theme comes with many features, options page… If theme doesn’t comply with at least one of these two criterias it will be rejected. But we are really open about it and if we think a theme has the potential to become a quality theme, we will add it to our repository and submit a list of improvements or bugs to fix. A good example maybe is OneRoom. This theme comply with the first criteria but not with the second. So before we can release it, it will have to be revamped.

      Chris created an options page framework (SYNTOF). This framework gives us a lot of flexibility and allows us to enhance any theme in just an instant by calling SYNTOF in functions.php:

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      // Include the theme options framework
      // Kept outside theme route locally for easier SVN updating
      switch ($_SERVER['SERVER_ADMIN']) {
      	case 'chris@localhost':
      		require_once dirname(__FILE__) . "/../syntof/init.php";
      		break;
      	default:
      		require_once dirname(__FILE__) . "/syntof/init.php";
      		break;
      }

      Last word, all the themes will be available in the SVN repository but only the best ones will be featured on our official site at http://wpsynergy.org, again, to ensure we only release quality themes.

      In any case, feel free to contact us at joinus{at}wpsynergy{dot}org and submit your theme. We will be glad to review it.

  21. iklan baris says:

    14 Aug, 2009

    very-very nice design… goog job

  22. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    14 Aug, 2009

    Thanks iklan. Don’t want to join WPSynergy with your ClassiPress theme ;)

  23. John says:

    14 Aug, 2009

    Thanks Jeremie Tisseau for clearing that up for me. I know you can’t just accept anything, but I also know that you will need some themes to launch with as well. I went and read over more of the wiki/dev blog/etc and I can tell you guys are working hard on it. Out of curiosity, when are you trying to launch? Cause it’s hard for me to imagine that you guys are not going to get paid when this project is finished, but it’s totally cool that you are doing it for the greater good.

  24. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    15 Aug, 2009

    Yes, we will need two or three themes to start with. So far we have Pignews, Oneroom and Synjob. Even better if you and others want to add their own themes to the repository. We were also thinking to release the WPSynergy theme (screenshot above) which receive a lot of postive feedbacks.

    Our project is opensource. We do this because we like it. Now, here’s the reality. We all work on our spare time and we cannot work on it as much as we would like. If we really want this project to be succesfull we will need to find some funds. I was thinking to offer paid support. We would still offer free support to users on our forum (maintained by volunteers), but some people might be interested to pay to receive a more personalized support. The money we would get from that would be used to hire talented designers to create stunning Worpress themes. Another or complementary way to fund this project would be to create a site using Synjob (a job board theme) and charge recruiters to post their job offers. Just an idea. We will have to explore this.

    When will we be ready to launch?! Hmm, hard question. I can’t really say at the moment. My involvement (and other’s) in this project depends a lot on my (their) workload (a reason why some fundings would help us be more involved and move this project to the next level).

    All in all, our plan is really to remain opensource. We will never charge end users to use our themes.

    Does it answer your questions?

  25. steven says:

    26 Jan, 2010

    Does this realy gonna happen? Because I haven’t heard about it for ages.

  26. Jeremie Tisseau says:

    28 Jan, 2010

    I can’t really say. There’s been little involvement from the WordPress community unfortunately. And since last October, I have been too busy to do anything to contribute to this project. That’s a shame.

  27. Tommy says:

    17 Sep, 2010

    geat Awesome…

  28. Camaleo says:

    19 Sep, 2010

    very nice idea, though about something similar some time ago. Its a pity that there is no involvement from the community…

    • Jeeremie says:

      19 Sep, 2010

      Yes, that’s a pity. More than 40 people joined us but unfortunately none of them (except Chris) were dedicated and contributed to this project. But Chris and I are not loosing faith and keep working on it regularly when we have some spare time. We made some good progress. We have 3 themes almost ready for release and are now completing the wpsynergy.org site. Hopefully, once the site is live and users can start to download our themes, more people will join us. :)

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